Amid the flurry of headlines about cannabis legalization, new products, and innovations, the humble hemp plant doesn’t get much press. But this often unremarked sector of the legal cannabis industry is a major part of the “green revolution” going on around the world.
Legal cannabis means many companies are turning with renewed interest to the wide industrial applicability of hemp. And one company, the Australia-based Mirreco, is working to make hemp the home-building material of the not-so-distant future.
From Farm To House: Company Envisions Environmentally Sustainable Homes Made From Hemp
Australian company Mirreco is emerging as a leader in the country’s rapidly developing hemp industry.
Mirreco says that it has developed a specialized machine for processing hemp plants. The machine can separate plant components, like the fibers, seeds, and hurd.
The Perth-based company wants to create a fleet of such machines that, once mobile, could travel to farming locations and process hemp on site.
The company recently announced its plans to take hemp processing much further. Mirreco has developed a way to manufacture building panels from hemp biomass.
Coupled with 3D-printing technology, builders would be able to custom-design hemp biomass panels to make livable residences and other structures.
Inside the New 3D-Printed Hemp Homes
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To demonstrate the capabilities of its innovative hemp biomass building panels, Mirreco partnered with Australian architecture firm Arcforms.
Mirreco describes the hemp biomass panels as “structurally sound, easy to produce” and claims that they “provide superior thermal performance” compared to typical building materials. Of course, industrial hemp companies have known about the merits of hemp building material for some time.
But Mirreco’s innovation stems from their use of 3D-printing technology to shape their hemp biomass panels into fully livable homes. “Just image living and working in buildings that are 3D-printed and available to move into in only a matter of weeks,” Mirreco said in an announcement.
In an Instagram post showcasing the latest images of the hemp home prototype, Mirreco describes the homes as carbon negative, “off the grid” living solutions. The homes sport ground-breaking technology, including windows that convert sunlight into electrical energy.
Hemp Homes Could Offer An Important Solution To Major Environmental Challenges
Greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, are rapidly rising around the world due to human activity. Finding ways to reduce those emissions and remove them from the atmosphere are major environmental challenges for a planet hoping to stave off the worst consequences of climate change.
And hemp can help. Before they even become industrial products, hemp crops help to sequester and store carbon dioxide. In other words, hemp crops remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
Furthermore, hemp biomass materials leave a much smaller environmental footprint than synthetic building materials. And thanks to innovations across the industry, hemp-based bio-composite materials are already besting the performance of their synthetic counterparts.
Livable 3D-printed homes are already planned for construction in the Netherlands. Project Milestone will build five sustainable, 3D-printed homes made of concrete. Residents of the Dutch town of Bosrijk could move into the first ever livable 3D-printed homes by next year.
Rather than using concrete, Mirreco hopes building projects like Milestone will employ hemp biomass like the Arcforms prototype.